Friday, November 21, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Saville’s painting “Branded” was completed in 1992. It is a rather large oil painting on canvas with dimensions stretching 7’x6’. It is the first prominent picture in Saville’s book and I find myself particularly drawn to this painting because it vividly describes the artist’s subject matter and focus. The painting is of an over weight woman standing with one hand at her side and the other grasping her stomach fat while she looks down at the viewer, which is almost intimidating. Saville’s paint application in “Branded” as well as her many other paintings is extraordinary. She adds oil paint as if she sculpts her figures through brushstroke. She stated that she can mix up to 300 colors for a painting and prefers using pots of paint to mix in rather than a palette. She has been compared to artists like Lucien Freud. “Branded” forces the viewer to think about the ideas of femininity and what’s considered beautiful. Saville does this by creating such a large image and the puts words on the models body. The words read, “support”, “decorative”, “delicate”, and “petite”.
“When I was painting the genital area, I was trying to think about ways to use intense color and make marks that heightened a feeling of sex. Then when I painted the thigh, I had this area at the topside of the thigh and had four or five tones mixed up that I knew I wanted to run into each other. I got them all really oily. It was a one shot, to keep the color clean but slide them together and create the thrusting dynamic of this leg lifting up. The white dripped right across the thigh towards the genitals. It was this incredible, orgasmic”.
In 2004, Saville completed “Entry” ranging around 7’x6’. This painting is a portrait of an older woman who has been deformed by something. She looks down past the viewer with a sad longing look in her eyes. The colors used are cold and sickening evoking a depressing feel. I chose this painting because it speaks to Saville’s more recent work discussing deformities and once again confronting the viewer of what is considered to be acceptable by society.
(Sorry, I couldn't get the last image to load. I will try again later).
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Anselm Kiefer, born on March 8, 1945, is one of the most significant German artists. Growing up during the end of World War II, Kiefer dealt with very controversial subject matters in his paintings and sculptures. Kiefer went to Albert-Ludwigs-Universitat with intentions of studying law. The direction of his studies quickly changed to art in 1966, studying under Peter Dreher. A few years later, he studied under Horst Antes at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Kunste, and then studied under Joseph Beuys. Beuys had a large influence on Kiefer and the themes he worked with, such as cultural myths and symbols. In the early 1970s, shortly after getting married and moving to a secluded village in the Oden Forest, Kiefer began working with mythical and historical German figures in large format. More recently, Kiefer has branched out from German themes, incorporating ancient Hebrew and Egyptian history, theology, and mysticism. The theme constant throughout his career is the trauma societies go through, and their continuous rebirth.
Kiefer was greatly influenced by German history, especially the destruction and horror of the Holocaust. Through his paintings, Kiefer is holding a mirror up to the catastrophe and devastation Germany was left with after the war, graphically retelling a story that was – and still is – hurtful and disturbing to many. Ann Hanson observed, “there’s tragedy in every brushstroke.” Kiefer’s belief was that art is a means by which you can have a dialogue with history, so he powerfully represents ideas and emotions that will touch each viewer. Historically significant names, events, and places are often scrawled across his paintings. He juxtaposes contrasting ideas Kiefer’s works utilize materials such as straw, glass, wood, plant parts, clay, and lead. The paint used is usually in earthy or dark, somber colors, giving his paintings a depressing, tragic feel.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
James Rosenquist known most frequently with the Pop Art Movement started out with little schooling but rather chose to focus on working within the industry. Rosenquist became a member of the Sign, Pictorial and Display Union, Local 230 from 1957-59. He was employed by A.H. Villepigue, Inc., General Outdoor Advertising, Brooklyn, New York, and Artkraft Strauss Sign Corporation. While working for A.H. Villepigue, Inc he painted billboards in the Times Square area and other locations in New York. This type of work led him to utilize images that are already available to put into works.
Rosenquists involvement in the Pop Art movement was based off of this idea of using these images. Other artists such as Roy Liechtenstein, Andy Warhol, and Peter Max where also involved in Pop Art during the 50’s and 60’s. Rosenquist specifically worked with images that were primarily recognizable but didn’t necessarily place them with relational object. His paintings throughout his work in the past five decades have remained to be colorful with great imagery. The images in his work or often layered and even separated from the base of the works. To begin most of his paintings he started with collages, which can be seen through the final pieces.
Rosenquist worked primarily on large canvases or even on Masonite. His working on large canvases stemed from his early experiences of working with billboards. Rosenquist utilized mass-produced goods, magazines, films and other aspects of the mass media, together with his dispassionate and seemingly anonymous technique to create these works that are considered key figures in the development of Pop Art.
Oil on Masonite, 84 x 144”
In the Red
Oil on Canvas, 66 1/4 X78 1/4”
Portrait of the Scull Family
Oil on Canvas with two attached panels, 76 3/4 x 96”
Untitled (Blue Sky)
Oil on Canvas with Plastic, 78 x 66”
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Entry 1: My original proposal is an interpretation of Cleveland architecture (my geographic home). I feel that for an Ohio school, the students at Denison whom I have interacted with never seem to know much about the larger cities of Ohio. Frustratingly, fewer people still gave them any credit whatsoever for their local cultures, largely as a result of their incidental ignorance about these cities. My idea is to use the strong lines and interesting shapes from various contemporary buildings around Cleveland. One iconic building in Cleveland is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, located in the heart of Cleveland. Award winning architect I. M. Pei designed this structural gem that bears a similar pyramidal shape to the Louvre’s Pyramid, another of Pei’s designs. Another notable architect is Frank Gehry, who designed the business school building at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. What I came to realize is although these are very inspiring architects and interesting buildings, I can’t identify with them in the way that I felt necessary to complete the assignment. Instead, I found inspiration in absolute devastation.
Entry 2: The topic has changed. The night that I was stretching the canvas for this piece, my mother called with terrible news. Our close family friend who had been living in New Zealand with her children and husband for almost a decade killed herself two months ago. My godfather, her husband regretted to tell us and we only learned the news of her death through another mutual friend. This news sank into me with one of the bluest moods that I have ever experienced. I feel sometimes that my melancholic moods are unfounded and self-absorbed. I’ve written essays in high school that elicited the, “Are you okay? Really though…should I be worried?” question from teachers. This was quite different, as all deaths are. I walked over the threshold next to the coffee maker in the studio and heard my mothers news but continued walking completely stunned until I reached the first tier of the corner of the studio where my easel was located, and burst into tears. Given my procrastinatory nature, leaving the studio was a non-option, for we needed our canvases stretched and primed by the next day. So I stretched and primed with tears running down my face. It was messy, but complete.
Entry 3: I took to the canvas without anything but Marily in my mind. I wanted the deep intense blue to signify melancholy to the viewer, although its brightness seems cheerier to most. The yellow represented life, that was being suppressed by the blue cubes. The dripping was a sort of cleansing of the canvas, a washing away of all of the anxiety and pain. I was thinking of her daughter, who is about fourteen and how she will experience adolescence without a mother, knowing that she willingly… I don’t even know how to express this. While the whole canvas was wet, a single drip from the top of the canvas cleared a white drip that went through the muckier middle. Here I put the red, the third and final primary color, (the whole painting was ‘tube colors’ just like I like it). The red was intended to be blood, an open wound that will not heal with anything but time. The painting doesn’t convey all of this emotion, but I remember it as a specific moment in time, and am reminded of this tragedy each time I look at the painting. Although titles weren’t required, I would have named it something like, “the sky isn’t crying, I am.” Pretty literal, eh?
I was very happy with my peers interpretations of this first piece. Most interpreted the red as a wound, or as blood, and that was spot-on. The word ‘boring’ was thrown out about it, which was disappointing and indicative of its failure to convey the true emotion experienced while creating the piece. My absolute favorite interpretation was one that I hadn’t even considered myself. This is the idea that everything seems okay on the outside, but if you look a little closer, there is another darker, sadder, more macabre world that this peer of mine saw.
I was completely without ideas for the next abstract painting. That’s why I’m writing this late. I should have just written that after much debate I still hadn’t come up with an idea that relates to the class and with my senior research. It wasn’t until was listening the song “Yes We Can” and thinking about how this music could be really conducive to meditation. So, I just kept listening and trying to feel the music and I though to myself that this song is all about waiting for something special. That something special, in this song, is Barak Obama. I want to express that same sense of discovery.
This is the same waiting and yearning for something that I’m trying to find through my drawing and paintings. And the same that I am studying though my senior research. For this particular painting I was the paint to be thick but smooth. Not hurried at all; very like meticulous.
Good song. I wish I knew who composed it.
Final Write Up:
This painting did not come out the way I wanted it to. And in the end I ended up covering most of the painting with thick grey-brown lines covering it. Over the weekend I realized that when I feel like a painting of mine has failed I effectively ruin or destroy it because what I have painted has not lived up to its idea. I started off trying to express a sense of waiting in anticipation. I used a progressive techno song to inspire me. I ended up trying to depict the song and no the sense of waiting. I was doing a much better job at reaching my goals in the beginning when I was first starting the painting but as I added more and more paint it became lost and I could see no hope of retrieving it. So I painted over it to give that viewer then sense of it being unattainable at the moment. Like they want to be able to see it but are unable to just as I was unable to see the idea anymore.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Going along with the theme from my previous larger painting, I’d like to continue to use music and the feelings it evokes as my motivation. I think that movement is a natural part of music. Physical action is involved in its production and its elicited response. What I love most about progressive techno, or trance, is the standard buildup as a key element. A lot of music uses this change in pace and volume in order to inspire a certain feeling, however in progressive techno not only is this its goal, but the feeling is most often one of elation or ecstasy. The music makes me happy, it gets my adrenaline pumping and it’s these emotions that make me want to hear more. The music plays on this anticipation, almost as if to tease you, and once it reaches your final thread of anxiety, it releases. I’d almost call it orgasmic as it focuses on a climax. It’s not something I consider sexual, but it might be an appropriate comparison. This might be why drugs like MDMA are so popular with this type of music scene because it does play off emotion and sensation. I want to be able to convey that same feeling through an abstract painting. I realize the idea might be similar to my previous painting, but I think the method of expressing that idea is very different.
I considered the composition of my painting because I felt that direction and perspective would help to portray movement. I also knew that I wanted color to be a major element in my painting. I associate vibrant colors with techno music and the vibrant emotions it elicits. It was also important for me to show the feeling outside of the music. I wanted to show the heat and confusion that one can experience when at a concert or club.
After outlining my composition I began by painting what would represent the feeling that is the result of the music. I decided that dark oranges, yellows and reds would help to portray this heat. Lines that swirl through the movement of the heat would offer the elements of confusion and freedom. Throughout the entire painting I was listening to music, there wasn’t a single moment of silence.
I began working on that music part of the piece. I broke the main figure into parts that would shape the movement of the music as it becomes progressively faster. Within each individual shape, there is color which is representative of the different sounds that occur in each beat. Some colors are more vibrant than others, but in all they are collectively quite bright. The movements with which I applied the paint were very controlled at first, but I realized that without more movement in my strokes, the movement of the music could be lost. Other than the overall shape of the composition, there are no details that were premeditated. Colors and strokes were all instinctual and I felt that the result was fairly representative of this.
I was pretty happy with the critique. I was glad to hear that a lot of people felt as if they were moving, or at least that the painting had movement. I wouldnt say I was disappointed to hear that people refered to the colors as reminiscent of the '80s and '90s. I did like the "Saved by the Bell" reference. I was thinking about Kelly Kapowski throughtout the entire process. I wasnt to happy when people saw the colors as tube, or very close to it. In fact, no colors were straight from the bottle, and most mere mixed with mulitple colors. But if thats the appearance they have, so be it. I did like the flesh references to the reddish areas. These spaces were meant to represent the physical repsonse to music, and flesh is fairly relevant. I did like this process of not revealing the subject of your painting. I think it allowed people to develop their own opinions more freely.
I got too angry at my painting at one point, when I was worried the painting wasn't anxious anymore, and I was worried that that anger came into it. My colors got darker, red-er, and my strokes got a little more violent. I think this grew out of my initial application of some darker colors. But I still kept with the same tight sparatic strokes, scraping away afterwards – as if I was "nervous" that I hadn’t made the correct strokes. I realized the little scratches didn't read from far away, so I hoped the painting as a whole would intrigue the viewer and pull them closer, so they could get lost in all the crazy scribbles. I "doodled" - still thinking about nervous patterns and habits of people. I also threw some coffee at it. I just felt compelled to, and I couldn’t go on until I had done that. Then I sort of connected nervous jitteriness (I was taking advantage of how the copious amounts of caffeine affected me physically) with caffeinated jitteriness. High anxiety can interfere with sleep, like coffee. I instinctually grabbed some charcoal and added stronger, longer vertical and horizontal strokes that made me think of pacing back and forth, wearing a path in the floor when nervous? Which in retrospect may have not been the best idea, as it muddies any colors I added. oops.
Color choice was a little too pleasing to look at. Anxiety shouldn't be too nice to see. But I still wanted to intrigue the viewer. And then, hoping that the smell of coffee would affect the viewer… I took the coffee grounds out of the pot and rubbed them into the canvas. Which served to dirty things up a bit Coffee ground smell didn’t really stay, which is okay. Now I know. I think the different sizes of the strokes add to the idea of re-doing and re-painting. Over and over because of nervousness, retracing, getting caught in ruts, patterns, scribbling, scratching, colors that don’t necessarily make sense. I was nervous to add anything more to it- which I think might be good. Maybe the point?
I think I was mostly happy with what people said in the crit. I liked how the energy and tightness of strokes was picked up, and the repetitions of strokes and such. I'm not sure how I feel about the graffiti association, or looking for shapes. I was kind of surprised at how not happy I was when people started pointing out shapes. I don't know if you guys were actually emotionally affected by the work or not, I hope so. This was a very experimental painting for me, kind of scary, and I did a few crazy little things just to see if the would work. I tried really hard to let myself go more where the paint took me, and I was excited when I heard that in the crit. But what made the happiest was to see people going up to it afterwards and standing very close, and watching their eyes trace all the little lines. I think in the future, for me, when I attempt an abstract painting, emotion is the most intriguing to me, and I think if next time, I can think less, and just try to stay in the mindset of the particular emotion, it will work better. Thanks everybody for your comments and for reading this ridiculously long post. oh lordy. sorry.
My inspiration for this painting is New York City (Times Square) and the feelings it evokes in me. Some words that came to mind were: crowded, glowing, vivid, radiant, energy, fluorescent, color, motion, exhilarating, bright, and depth. I started with a dark, drippy background. After beginning to add long, smooth streaks of color that twist and wind around the canvas (symbolic of constant motion and the bright lights of Times Square) the painting was looking too flat. I began to think about how the city makes me feel, and what it is like trying to get through crowds in the middle of Times Square. There’s such a high level of energy that’s engulfs you when standing, or trying to move, in the heart of the ‘city that never sleeps’. I worked on adding more dimension and a more lively feel to the piece by using shorter, faster strokes, as well as dripping and throwing paint.
I felt like the critique was very helpful, and it was interesting to hear what everyone had to say/thought about my piece. Many people thought it might have to do with space, or supernovas. That wasn’t my intention, but after hearing that, it reminds me of something space-related, too. A few people also mentioned energy and motion, which was right on target! Overall, I’m happy with how the piece turned out, although I agree that more drips/streaks could be added, and I think my piece would be more effective if the colors were brighter and more vibrant.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
This painting started as something very natural and earthy. With the canvas I event left the edged unfinished thinking I would leave them raw even without paint. I also wanted the color scheme to be very washed out, with creams, light brown, and greens. I started with a base yellow that was pretty sunny and bright which led the direction of my painting basically. I ended up liking the yellow and the direction. I painted a fairly flat yellow, meaning it had no real texture or stroke to it, but was even all over the canvas, except for fading at the edges. From there I dripped greens on the bottom and yellows in darker hues on the top. I layered the drips for some time until I was happy with them. After that I decided to paint in the raw edges with brown paint. I even used some glaze with the brown to really blend it into the middle of the canvas. I wanted it to seem washed out but not dirty. After this step I decided it needed something bold, working off of the earthy feel I didn’t want to use blues or anything synthetic but a color that could naturally occur in nature. Red. It’s the bold color I wanted to stand out and balance the work. I used my pallet knife to apply the color to random areas making sure to have a balance top to bottom and side to side. This idea of balance in a painting is really important to me to be able to accomplish. After the red dried, I applied more drips on both top and bottom of the work. Then I applied more red paint with the pallet knife. This piece ended up being more layered with paint than I originally planned or even wanted. I think it worked out well in the end though. I am happy with the result even though it is not where I intended it to go. It is somewhat of a struggle to do paintings like this, abstract, and not always knowing when to stop. I feel like I pushed this painting further than its original intent and keeping with the context of being earthy that I accomplished my goal. It shows depth and a change in texture, stroke, and value. The painting also relates to the earthy idea by being organic in shapes, fairly soft (that is how I interpret nature) and maintained natural colors. For my next painting I want to continue this idea of earth but with a more pointed focal point and amount of detail added. This painting evoked a lot of ideas and concepts that I want to further in my work.
Post Crit- Entry
This critique to me was really productive. Abstract work is fairly new to me, so feedback on my work is really important. I felt as though people got part of what I was trying to portray-especially with terms used such as rustic. The change in textures, some being more washed out than others seemed to work well to create discussion about the piece. I do want more of a focus with my further work. This piece was confusing for me at times, so that is something that the feedback will drive me to stay more direct if that is the intent of the next piece.